Insights from Indaba
Cape Town Tourism representatives at Indaba 2012 have noticed an increased demand for more unexpected or unusual experiences. After interacting with local and international travel trade and media delegates for four days, it became evident that travellers want to do something "unique" when visiting a city.
Marketing services co-ordinator Inge Dykeman said, "People who came to see us obviously knew about Table Mountain, but they wanted to know what activities visitors can try out – there was interest in abseiling for example." She also fielded questions about theatre events and gourmet experiences.
Collette van Aswegen, marketing manager of Table Mountain Cableway, said she was encouraged by the awareness of Table Mountain's recently confirmed status as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. "We've had a lot of people wanting to know more about the inauguration process and what it means for Table Mountain and for South Africa." Regarding the value of being at Indaba, she said, "Sometimes it can take months to set up meetings with people in the travel industry, but being at Indaba makes it so much easier for people in the travel industry to meet up and exchange ideas. It's great to chat to business partners and it's a great networking experience."
Social media has been a big talking point at Indaba, with many delegates showing an interest in how to incorporate it into their marketing. Damian Cook of E-Tourism Frontiers delivered a seminar on e-marketing in emerging networks and pointed out that recent research suggested that 96% of travel research is done online, with Facebook, which has more than 850-million users, the most popular website for this. He advised accommodation providers not to charge guests separately for internet connectivity, and encouraged them to consider the mood they would like their guests to be in when they sit down to write a TripAdvisor review of the establishment.
Rodney Payn of Think! Social Media said members of the travel industry in South Africa needed to make better use of Twitter to communicate with travellers and, in particular, travel writers and marketers. He pointed out that social media is the most cost-effective way to reach the target markets.
For more information and insights about Indaba, read our industry blog.